Category Archives: food

Best Burgers in Hawaii

Wondering where to get a really great burger or cheeseburger in Hawaii? Here are the results of the various  readers’ polls and reviews for tops, island by island.


Kua ‘Aina wins best burger almost every year for at least 10 years running. There are two locations: in Honolulu at Ward Center and on the North Shore in Haleiwa town. They also serve a crazy good fish sandwich.

Teddy’s Bigger Burger won the 2009 StarBulletin reader’s poll. The burgers are so big and juicy that you’re going to need to wash your arms afterward.


Cool Cat Cafe located on Front Street in Lahaina wins top burger in Maui for at least five years running, according to the readers of Maui Time Weekly. The buns are baked locally and the veggies are super fresh.


There are no one burger that wins tops (partly because there is no weekly magazine polling readers), but there are three good options. Duane’s Ono Char Burger rates tops, according to the LA Times.

Bubba’s Burgers is an island institution and serves up a consistenly juicy and tasty burger.

Don’t forget about Barefoot Burgers, which does not disappoint, again according to the LA Times.

With no clear local reader’s poll winner, I’ll volunteer my direct experience that Duane’s is definitely worth the trip.

Big Island

Again a lack of local reader’s polls and outside reviews makes this tough. The Hawaii Tribune votes Burger King in Hilo as the best burger on the East Side. West Hawaii today votes Burger King in Kona as the best burger on the West Side. Hard times when a national chain wins. Makes you wonder what else is available.

So I’ll report my own direct experience. In Hilo, the Hilo Bay Cafe serves a flavorful almost guilt-free gourmet burger, and if you go during happy hour it’s cheaper.

Closer to Waimea, Tex Drive-In in Honokaa near Waimea serves a juicy and flavorful burger. They also serve a killer fish sandwich and some of the best malasadas (local donuts) on the islands.

The Waimea area of the Big Island receives accolades for Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Merriman’s serves a grass-fed local beef burger that will leave you teary-eyed because you’re sad you ate it all and there’s none left. Worth the splurge.

In Kona, it’s slim pickings, chains and tourist traps. They’ll scrath the itch, but nothing really local or noteworthy.

Maui Dining and Art: 3 Top Meal Deals in Kihei

http://www.mauiartonline.comBy Stephanie Sachs

Maui can certainly be expensive. Plus you can easily end up in a tourist trap and spend good money for bad food. Being an artist I always look for clean food on a budget. Here are some of my favs.

1. Maui Thai Bistro – Great flavors, fresh herbs and friendly service. Portions are large enough to eat family style. Meal for two $20. If you’re local, ask for the kama’aina discount.

Address: 2439 S. Kihei Rd. #103B, Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: (808) 874-5605 Cuisine: Thai Hours: 11:30 am to 9 pm Daily

2.Jawz – Tried and true. Clean Mexican with a wonderful array of fixings at their salsa bar. I am not crazy about their fish but I do enjoy their enchilada pie and soft corn tacos with steak. Located at the back of Azeka’s II 1279 South Kihei Road. Air conditioned, which is a plus in Kihei. Most items under $10.

Address: 1279 S Kihei Rd Kihei, HI 96753-5228 Phone: (808) 874-8226 Cuisine: Grill Hours: 11 am to 9 pm daily; Happy Hour 3 pm to 6 pm Monday through Saturday

3. Sansei – Yes, sushi can be expensive but you have to know when the locals go to get the dakine deal. On Sunday and Monday, sushi appetizers and entrees are 50% off from 5 to 6pm and 25% off on Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 6pm. Be sure to get there no later than 4:30, or even earlier during season. Bring a beach chair and a book or enjoy meeting local people all waiting on line and happy about eating a great meal at a killer price. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after 10pm, sushi and appetizers are 50% off plus they offer drink specials. Free Karaoke at night which can be a mixed blessing.

Address: 1881 S Kihei Rd Kihei, HI 96753 Phone: (808) 879-0004 Cuisine: Seafood and Sushi Hours: Dinner nightly

Please feel free to comment on these and add your own suggestions.

Warmest Aloha, Stephanie

About the Contributor:

Stephanie displays and sells her art work Tuesday mornings at the Four Seasons Wailea. You can meet her in the lower lobby. Enjoy videos hosted by the artist at . Feel free to see her artwork at

Local Organic Produce in Hawaii

Used to be that if you wanted fresh, local and organic produce in Hawaii you had to shop at  health food stores selling primarily expensive imports from the Mainland. But now there are a growing number of organic farms in Hawaii selling their produce directly to consumers.

Here are my top picks:

1. Maui Bees, 150 Pule Nui Road, Kula, Maui. Open daily.

Probably the most scenic view you’ll ever seen from a farm. On a clear day there are views of four islands while you pick your own produce. Don’t be fooled by the flags of another farm on the corner; that’s not Maui Bees. You’ll need to drive upslope about 1/4 mile, and then you’ll see their Honey for Sale sign. You’re at the right place when you feel like you’re pulling into someone’s driveway.

2. Waipa Farmer’s Market, past Hanalei, Kauai. Open Tuesdays from 2 pm to 6 pm.

One of Kauai’s best kept secrets set against the lush greenery and waterfalls of the northshore. Rain or shine, this small but excellent market delivers some of the best quality food you’ll find on Kauai. If you’re lucky, you might score some poi made from heirloom taro at Waipa’s community mill next door.

3. Hilo Farmer’s Market, Hilo, Hawaii. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 6 am to 4 pm.

Hawaii’s biggest and most famous farmer’s market, it does not disappoint. You’ll find beautiful of organic produce from nearby farms at great prices. Many farmers make their own “value added” products, such as jams, jellies and condiments. The market also hosts an entire section of local artisans, weavers and jewelers. The market alone is worth a day trip from Kona or another island. But get there early because the best produce goes fast.

What now?

You’ve scored some amazing produce now what? Check out for tips and recipes on how prepare fresh food for maximal nutrition and flavor.